Penultimate issues can be very tricky and so often fail, especially in ongoing comic books, because they can’t give too much away but still need to entertain. So often they are bridging chapters with superfluous action to fill the void, and so, that brings us to the penultimate issue in Larry Watts’ and Cullen Bunn’s Army of Darkness series: is it good?
Army of Darkness Vol. 4 #4 (Dynamite Entertainment)
If you’re just joining us you’ll need a quick recap, but I’m not going to do a disservice to this title and spoil things. I’ll just say this: Ash is in outer space trying to stop a robotic Deadite doppelganger of himself from turning the entire planet into Deadites via satellite. Perfectly logical and understandable plot if I do say so myself, but sarcasm aside it’s actually turned out to be a great action adventure story.
Nice full page spread!
I’m pretty sure writer Cullen Bunn knows what it takes to make a good action romp because he keeps the action plotted out evenly. He also gives Ash some sweet lines to utter amidst all the senseless violence and explosions, just like the movie days. He manages to give the Deadite villain in this book funny lines by giving Ash random topics as well; for instance in this issue Ash talks about rock and metal music only to have his demonic villain to proclaim, “Those songs are glam-rock at best!” The issue also contains a scene that should make Evil Dead and sci-fi fans alike cry out in geeky unison as Ash uses a suit similar to the one Ripley used in Aliens.
Saw to the gut!
The only issue I can take up with the writing is the rather easy way Ash succeeds near the end. Sure it’s great to see a hero defy all odds and succeed, but it seemed so quick and easy that it cheapened the build up of the villain.
Luckily Larry Watt keeps things moving and light enough to enjoy the humor and silliness of the premise. He gets the opportunity to design a new monster that’s quite enjoyable and weird and layouts continue to be fun and interesting. There’s a few panels that are straight out of an X-Men comic in how they add to the drama and at the same time make Ash cool. Overall another strong showing from Watts.
I hate when that happens.
Is It Good?
As far as penultimate issues this story keeps things light and entertaining, and while there’s a cheapened moment overall it’s turning out to be a fantastic action series.